In Iceland, an increasing number of Icelanders are joining an exotic religious movement called Zuism. Although the Evangelical Lutheran is the official state church in Iceland, around 1% of Iceland’s population has already proclaimed themselves as Zuits, i.e., members of a new religion that worships ancient Sumerian gods. However, this phenomenon is not related to spiritual inclinations.
Zuism appeared as a response to the adoption of religious taxes (the so-called parish fees) in Iceland. The purpose of the parish fees is to support state church and other 40 officially registered religious bodies.
In Iceland, every citizen is obliged to declare his/her religion and pay the taxes for the religious movement to which he/she belongs. In 2016, the annual parish fees fluctuate around 70 EUR per taxpayer. People who are members of an unregistered religious movement or do not affiliate themselves with any religion have to pay even higher taxes.Therefore, in order to protest against the parish fees, thousands of Iceland citizens officially declared Zuism as their main religion. The regulations of Zuism claim to refund the taxes for religion paid by the converts.
The official website of Icelandic Zuism clearly states, that: “The organization’s primary objective is that the government repeal any law that grants religious organizations privilege, financial or otherwise, above other organizations. Furthermore Zuists demand that the government’s registry of its citizens’ religion will be abolished.”
Although many Icelanders practice Zuism by reading ancient Sumerian poetry, several politicians have already argued that Zuism should be removed from the list of the official religious movements. According to them, there is nothing religious in giving money in the pockets of followers or protesting against the parish fees.